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WASHINGTON—Top Pentagon officials are considering putting elite special operations troops under CIA control in Afghanistan after 2014, just as they were during last year's raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, sources told The Associated Press.
If the plan were adopted, the U.S. and Afghanistan could say there are no more U.S. troops on the ground in the war-torn country because once the SEALs, Rangers and other elite units are assigned to CIA control, even temporarily, they become spies.
But putting special operations troops in the CIA's employ in Afghanistan could be attractive to the Afghan government because it would make the troops less visible and give Afghan President Hamid Karzai the added bonus of being able to say U.S. troops had withdrawn from his country. Technically, he would be right: Troops would have been rendered as spies by answering to the CIA's Kabul station chief instead of a U.S. military commander.
The chairman was General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, and the Marine Commandant was General David M. Shoup. They were close friends and had known each other for years.
When the primary subject of the briefing had ended General Lemnitzer asked me about the Army cover unit that was involved in the operation. I explained what its role was and more or less added that this was a rather routine matter. Then he said, "Prouty, if this is routine, yet General Shoup and I have never heard of it before, can you tell me in round numbers how many Army units there are that exist as `cover' for the CIA?" I replied that to my knowledge at that time there were about 605 such units, some real, some mixed, and some that were simply telephone drops. When he heard that he turned to General Shoup and said, "You know, I realized that we provided cover for the Agency from time to time; but I never knew that we had anywhere near so many permanent cover units and that they existed all over the world."
I then asked General Lemnitzer if I might ask him a question. He said I could. "General," I said, "during all of my military career I have done one thing or another at the direction of a senior officer. In all those years and in all of those circumstances I have always believed that someone, either at the level of the officer who told me to do what I was doing or further up the chain of command, knew why I was doing what I had been directed to do and that he knew what the reason for doing it was. Now I am speaking to the senior military officer in the armed forces and I have just found out that some things I have been doing for years in support of the CIA have not been known and that they have been done, most likely, in response to other authority. Is this correct?"
This started a friendly, informal, and most enlightening conversation, more or less to the effect that where the CIA was concerned there were a lot of things no one seemed to know.
Originally posted by aboutface
reply to post by beezzer
The boots on the ground is accompanied by a chain of command and its accountability is underlined by the court martial system. With the alphabet agencies in command, there is no accountability as to who gave the orders for instance to drone-target a funeral procession in Pakistan, and why it was targeted. There is no reporting back. This has totally bypassed Congress . who knows whay they're already doing in Iran? And so we are now seeing two forms of drone warfare and those parallel forms imo is a really big issue we should also be discussing.edit on 4-3-2012 by aboutface because: (no reason given)
Is the President creating his own private army? He could order the CIA to, well, do anything, and it would happen. I always thought that the military would refuse an illegal order, but I suspect the CIA would treat it as all in a day's work.
It seems our president is fond of that kind of operation, SEAL raids, drone strikes, etc. As the Defense Department budget is cut, I would wager that the black budget goes up. Using the CIA as a significant defense force and killing machine makes me very uncomfortable. And while the CIA has a good reputation in Afghanistan, I doubt the rest of the world shares that opinion.
Let me get paranoid, the CIA military against the Oath Keepers or Sheriffs?